#1
I've heard a lot of people say you shouldn't play a bass through a guitar amp because you're likely to blow the speakers. This sort of makes sense, but what kind of amplifier would you need for an 8 string guitar, or something like a Fender Bass VI or Schecter Hellcat?
#2
A baritone or extended range guitar won't harm the speakers the way continuous playing with a bass will. Any guitar amp will be fine, but you'll want to get something that really brings out those low frequency notes.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#5
I would use a bass cab. an 8 string is normally tuned to a low F# right? thats only 1tone above bass's low E and the fenderVI/Hellcat are basses. they are short scale basses tuned in a similar fashion to a guitar.

a guitar amp or bass amp is your call, but use a bass cab.
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#7
Quote by sashki
What difference does it make?


Do you mean what difference does a bass through a guitar amp make over a baritone or extended range guitar? A lot. Those very low frequencies from the electric bass will raise hell with a speaker designed for a guitar. Plenty of bassists find this out the hard (and expensive) way every year. Your baritone or eight-string may be lower than a guitar tuned to standard pitch, but not that much lower. You could certainly play those instuments through a bass amp or a guitar amp with a bass cabinet if you wanted to, and they might give you a sound you like. But playing an eight-string guitar through a Fender Twin isn't going to hurt the speakers. Playing a bass through it will destroy them in time.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#8
Quote by FatalGear41
Do you mean what difference does a bass through a guitar amp make over a baritone or extended range guitar? A lot. Those very low frequencies from the electric bass will raise hell with a speaker designed for a guitar. Plenty of bassists find this out the hard (and expensive) way every year. Your baritone or eight-string may be lower than a guitar tuned to standard pitch, but not that much lower. You could certainly play those instuments through a bass amp or a guitar amp with a bass cabinet if you wanted to, and they might give you a sound you like. But playing an eight-string guitar through a Fender Twin isn't going to hurt the speakers. Playing a bass through it will destroy them in time.

The Fender Bass VI and Schecter Hellcat are tuned like bass guitars. 8 string guitars are tuned to F# which is only one whole step above the bass guitar's low E. And yet, they are played through standard guitar amps without damaging them.
#9
Depending on the sound you want to achieve you would most likely prefer an amp with a tight bottom end and a fair amount of clarity to really make the low F# stand out and not sound muddy, it would be best to try and find a suitable cab that would compliment the sound well.
#10
Quote by sashki
The Fender Bass VI and Schecter Hellcat are tuned like bass guitars. 8 string guitars are tuned to F# which is only one whole step above the bass guitar's low E. And yet, they are played through standard guitar amps without damaging them.


If you want to destroy a perfectly good guitar combo or cabinet by playing a bass through it for an extended period of time; it's your choice. Why the eight-string guitar doesn't damage the speakers; I am not certain. it probably has something to do with the gauge of the strings. But rest assured, extended use of an electric bass through guitar speakers will fry them. Ask any longtime bassist. We've all seen it more times than we can remember. Yes, some professional bassists split their signal and play through a guitar amp, but they end up replacing a lot of speakers (i.e., Chris Squire).
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#11
I'm also going to get a Hellcat VI or a Warmoth Bass VI so I've done a little research. It really depends on the application and gear in question. A lot of older tube bass amps such as Ampeg B-15 and Fender Bassman are are very similar to guitar amps. They even have similar wattages. A lot of guitarists even prefer to play guitar through them. Some older cabs and combos used the standard 12" speakers used for guitar. I know Fender and Marshall have used these. A bass setup from the 60s or 70s could likely be identical to a modern guitar setup. Bass VIs came out in the 60s so they were played through guitar amps or setups that were very very close to guitar amps. Bass amps have changed much more than guitar amps over the years but people seem to forget that bass amps in the 60s and 70s were practically guitar amps. The amp and cabinet design both changed.

I do not think it will harm a guitar amp. Someone already mentioned 8-string guitars. But you can use an octave pedal on guitar just fine and you're actually in bass territory. A Floyd Rose drops below an octave. All of these put your notes in bass range but these are fine applications so what is the big deal with using a bass through a guitar amp? I thought the electronic differences between guitars and bass could be a reason but Bass VI's use guitar electronics: standard stat pickups, humbuckers, and mini-humbuckers. You can even plug an iPod into a guitar amp and you can hear a bass just fine.

Here are some examples of Bass VIs through guitar amps:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01JC7y_NvWo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpLqIpDdLYs

I doubt a Bass VI will harm a guitar amp.
#12
It probably has more to do with the difference in electronics, more than anything else.
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#14
The problem is less about the speakers frequency range than that guitar speakers aren't designed to physically move as much as bass speakers. Playing a bass through guitar speakers forces the speakers to try and move much further than their design allows them to, obviously causing them to get destroyed.


I'm fairly certain electronics isn't an issue, but maybe with active pick ups in a bass. I'm not an electronics person though.
#15
We've had the Bass VI into a guitar amp argument a few times in the Bass Forum and by memory we never really came to a conclusion.
There's nut all difference between a tube bass amp and a tube guitar amp. Maybe a few resistors and usually a much higher wattage than a guitar tube amp. I'm pretty sure you'd be alright through a guitar speakers, but I wouldn't feel right about doing it myself. I think it's got a lot to do with the timbre differences with the string gauges.
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#16
It has nothing to do with the electronics whatsoever, nor is string gauge even a consideration, it's all about the design parameters of the speakers. Simply look up the speaker(s) a given cab or combo uses and find the frequency design curve for them. If it spans the frequencies you need you'll be fine, if it's not you will end up with speaker failure eventually.

No opinion, just basic physics.
Last edited by Arby911 at May 26, 2011,
#17
Quote by FatalGear41
If you want to destroy a perfectly good guitar combo or cabinet by playing a bass through it for an extended period of time; it's your choice. Why the eight-string guitar doesn't damage the speakers; I am not certain. it probably has something to do with the gauge of the strings. But rest assured, extended use of an electric bass through guitar speakers will fry them. Ask any longtime bassist. We've all seen it more times than we can remember. Yes, some professional bassists split their signal and play through a guitar amp, but they end up replacing a lot of speakers (i.e., Chris Squire).

I'm not trying to destroy anything here. I understand that a bass will damage guitar speakers.

What I'm asking is this:
Why is the Bass VI usually played through a guitar amp (with guitar speakers) without damaging it, even though it is tuned exactly the same as a bass guitar?
#18
Quote by sashki
I'm not trying to destroy anything here. I understand that a bass will damage guitar speakers.

What I'm asking is this:
Why is the Bass VI usually played through a guitar amp (with guitar speakers) without damaging it, even though it is tuned exactly the same as a bass guitar?


Probably because most people just assume it is essentially a guitar. I believe Tommy Tedisco used to play his Bass VI through a bass amp on studio dates, even though the parts were written for guitar. It is an esoteric instrument, and the issue probably never came up often enough to warrant a definitive answer as to which amp should be used.

You are wise not to want to destroy anything, and I didn't mean to imply that you were determined to do so. I just didn't want you to make a very expensive mistake. Let me tell you, over the years I have seen more than my share of fools plug their bass into expensive guitar amps and ruin the speakers because "an amp is an amp" or "Lemmy plays his bass through a Marshall stack, so why should't I?" Of course, Lemmy uses a Marshall Super Bass and Marshall bass cabinets. I watched a bassist destroy two vintage Hiwatt 4x12 cabinets in less than a month "because John Entwistle plays through them." The Ox had more money than God in his heyday, so new speakers every couple of weeks were not a problem. Over in the bass forum, we get at least two or three threads a month asking "Can I play my bass through my guitar amp?" No matter how many times we emplore people not to do it, they end up doing it anyway.

I'm glad to see you're smarter than that. Rock on!
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#20
I don't know that it doesn't. I don't know anyone who has owned and played a Fender Bass VI through a guitar amp long enough to be certain. The few people I've known who own them consider them just another bass and play them through their bass amps. They also don't play them very often, as the low-octave high E and B strings are not the most useful for a bassist. It might very well destroy the speakers over the course of time. The only way to be sure that it doesn't would be to conduct a controlled torture test over a set period and use measurements and observations to assess the results.

You could try pitching it to Premier Guitar magazine. It sounds like something they might be interested in trying. As long as someone else is paying for the guitar speaker cabinet, I'd be willing to try it.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley